Climate change, habitat destruction, hunting, introduction of non-native species—the reasons as to why several species are coming closer to the brink of extinction are many. Add to these, a man with the ability to hunt, fueled by greed and perhaps we have the biggest reason of them all.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 80 percent of the world’s population depends on medicines derived from plants and animals for its primary health care needs. This is especially true in countries where traditional medicines are widely used--China being right up there on this list.
Recently, there has been a marked increase in demand for alternative medicines in urban areas as well and this has led to the growth of the poaching, that has along with the other factors mentioned above, decimated animal populations. Despite there being no proof of the efficacy of these treatments, animals are still being attacked for these medicines. For example, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, powdered Rhino horn has the powers to heal fevers, convulsions, typhoid, rheumatism, gout, headaches and hallucinations, vomiting, food poisoning, and here is the winner—possession by the devil. Now, bite into this—Rhino horn is made up of keratin, which means it probably has the same effect as eating finger nails.
Even though several studies have proven that the claims by practitioners of TCM is completely baseless, there are millions, even today, who swear by it. What is even more surprising is that the rarity of a creature does not protect it from being killed in the name of “medicine”; it just raises its market price.
Today, there are just over 3,000 wild tigers worldwide, as opposed to the count of 100,000, a century ago. Africa had 26 million elephants in 1800 but today, their numbers have dropped to less than a million. All five species of rhinoceros are highly endangered and over the past decade, illegal trade has pushed them to the brink of extinction.
This infographic that was published on Vice, reveals just how terribly animal populations have been destroyed over the years, by us humans. Read it, believe it, and then see if you can do something about it. This world needs all the help it can get.
You can view the original image here
Words: Krupa Joseph